Love and Good Reasons: Postliberal Approaches to Christian Ethics and Literature
Fritz Oehlschlaeger is Professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is coeditor of Toward the Making of Thoreau’s Modern Reputation, coauthor of Articulating the Elephant Man: Joseph Merrick and His Interpreters, and editor of Old Southwest Humor from the Saint Louis Reveille, 1844–1850.
Insisting on the vital, productive relationship between ethics and the study of literature, Love and Good Reasons demonstrates ways of reading novels and stories from a Christian perspective. Fritz Oehlschlaeger argues for the study of literature as a training ground for the kinds of thinking on which moral reasoning depends. He challenges methods of doing ethics that attempt to specify universally binding principles or rules and argues for the need to bring literature back into conversation with the most basic questions about how we should live.
Love and Good Reasons combines postliberal narrative theology—especially Stanley Hauerwas’s Christian ethics and Alasdair MacIntyre’s idea of traditional inquiry—with recent scholarship in literature and ethics including the work of Martha Nussbaum, J. Hillis Miller, Wayne Booth, Jeffrey Stout, and Richard Rorty. Oehlschlaeger offers detailed readings of literature by five major authors—Herman Melville, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Henry James, and Stephen Crane. He examines their works in light of biblical scripture and the grand narratives of Israel, Jesus, and the Church. Discussing the role of religion in contemporary higher education, Oehlschlaeger shares his own experiences of teaching literature from a religious perspective at a state university.
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